Disney trip costs father job

Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Will Orr, center, and his family on their trip to Disney World, sponsored by the Make-a-Wish Foundation for his son Ayden, a 5-year-old with a serious and life-threatening form of epilepsy. Orr lost his job -- and his family’s insurance -- at Foundations Recovery Network, a Brentwood healthcare company, over taking approved vacation time for the trip.
Photo Submitted by the Orr family

A cynic would say that no good deed goes unpunished, and stories like the following are the sort that fuel the cynical.

Will Orr said he has been fired by his employer because of a good deed.

Orr is the father of 5-year-old Ayden Orr, the subject of recent news stories surrounding his family’s quest to obtain a service dog to guard the boy’s health.

Ayden has a form of epilepsy doctors have never before seen, in which he stops breathing before the onset of a major seizure.

Because of this, he needs constant observation to warn of an impending seizure so that emergency breathing can be administered in order to revive him.

That last story about Ayden in the Tribune ended on a positive note.

The community had rallied to Ayden’s side and raised the $39,000 for a service dog in a matter of days.

On Friday April 28, his church and family held a late birthday party for him, the centerpiece of which was the delivery of his service dog, Kadi.

Afterward, the family would do 10 days of intensive training to become certified to handle Kadi in public and then would be heading to Disney World.

The Make-a-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes for seriously ill children, was sending the family to Florida because of Ayden’s wish to meet Buzz Lightyear and Woody from the Toy Story movies.

The family wanted to go on the trip sooner rather than later due to the uncertainty regarding a fluid buildup on one of Ayden’s ribs which might at some point require surgery.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Orr.

Orr’s employer had a different plan, however.

On the Monday after Kadi’s arrival, Orr lost his job.

The Make-A-Wish trip, and the time off work it required, seemed to be the tipping point, said Orr.

The company Orr worked for says on its website, it’s devoted to treating patients holistically – emotionally and spiritually, as well as physically.

Orr worked in information technology for Foundations Recovery Network in their Brentwood corporate office.

The company manages a chain of treatment centers specializing in treating people dealing with the combination of addiction and mental health issues.

Ayden’s condition and the resulting doctor trips had forced Orr to use time off through the year, but Orr said that he had the time available to him and that his manager had approved all of the days he had taken off to care for his son.

Orr says the company’s chief information officer told him that he felt like Orr was taking advantage of the company and that it would be best if he moved on.

While it has caused additional stress in a situation where there is already plenty, Orr looks at the situation with the positivity and strength shown by the entire family throughout their battle with Ayden’s illness.

He was grateful to spend that week training with Kadi full-time in order to pass the handler exam, which he described as one of the most difficult tests he’s ever taken.

He’s looking for another job, closer to home, which will enable him to spend more time with his family.

The most serious consequence for the family has been the loss of medical insurance. After a couple of weeks, his insurance through work ceased, and Orr said that they had already applied to Tenncare to keep insurance in effect for Ayden until he gets another job.

Orr has been told by attorneys that he has a case, but he has chosen to move forward with his life instead of pursuing that course of action.

“I’m going to take what time I have here (with my family) as a blessing,” he said.